There are a number of recent developments in UK employment law which could soon be affecting your business if they aren’t already.· Unfair dismissal compensation
With effect from 1 February 2013, the maximum unfair dismissal basic rises to £13,500, the compensatory award to £74,200 and the cap on a week’s pay to £450.
· Revised Unpaid Parental Leave
From the 8 March 2013 unpaid parental leave entitlement increased from 13 weeks to 18 weeks and can be taken up until a child’s 5th birthday but limited to a maximum of 4 weeks per year.
· Flexible Parent Leave
The government intends to implement flexible parental leave by way of shared maternity leave by 2015 in addition to fathers ‘2 weeks’ paternity leave and pay.
· New ‘employee-owner’ employment contracts – share for rights
From April 2013 – In exchange for certain employment rights (statutory redundancy pay; claim unfair dismissal (except in limited circumstances including TUPE); request flexible working hours or time off for training) an employee may have a new status of ‘employee-owner’ with shares of between £2,000 and £50,000 which will be exempt from capital gains tax.
· Collective Redundancies
The government has announced that the current 90 day minimum consultation period where employers are proposing to make 100 or more redundancies at one establishment will be reduced to 45 days with a commencement date of 6 April 2013.
· Employment Tribunal Reform
The Government is consulting on new Tribunal Rules where an early strike-out will be permissible and the cap on costs of £20,000 removed. However, it is widely expected that fees will be payable at the commencement of proceedings in the Tribunal and for the hearing itself with effect from summer 2013.
· Working Time and Time Off
The Government is yet to publish its response regarding whether workers who are unable to take annual leave during one holiday year will be able to carry over unused leave to the next holiday leave.
· Income Tax
Income tax for high earners will fall from 50% to 45% in April 2013 when new policies and tax measures come into play. The personal allowance rises to £9,440 in April 2013.
· Protection of Freedoms Bill
There are planned changes to the vetting and barring scheme and Criminal Records Bureau checks. The CRB check will be instantly accessible online and portable but there is no date yet when these changes come into force in 2013.
· Whistleblowing Disclosures
A public interest requirement will be included in the definition of a qualifying disclosure and this is expected to come into force in 2013 in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. An employee will no longer be able to blow the whistle for alleged breaches of his or her own employment contract.
· Flexible Working Rights
The Government intends to extend the right to employees to work flexibly from 2014. Micro businesses will not be exempt.
· Diversity – Women On Boards
The Government has moved ahead with draft regulations requiring listed companies to report on gender balances of managers in the company. A manager is defined as "a person who has authority and responsibility for planning directing and controlling the activities of the Company". Companies with reporting years ending after October 2013 will need to consider the regulations when preparing annual reports.
Written by Liam Oakes
Liam is the Candidate Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 2 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.
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